Interviewee: Kathy Williams Interviewer: Carrie Streeter. Date: November 10, 2010
Kathy Williams was born in 1953 in Cleveland County, North Carolina. Both of her parents worked at Broughton Hospital, a state psychiatric hospital. She got an associateâs degree in nursing at Western Piedmont Community College and was nineteen years old when she began working at Broughton herself.
Her interview touches on the challenges of supervising staff at such a young age and the influence of her parents and mentors. She was in charge of 200 patients at a time and supervised a number of staff technicians. She recounts the organization and routines of Broughton at the beginning of her career there, describing the neurosurgical ward that no longer exists, her methods of keeping track of patientsâ information, and procedures for dealing with emergencies, among other topics. Williams also discusses changes at Broughton: her parentsâ memories of the Community Mental Health Act of 1963, the desegregation of psychiatric hospitals, language issues that have arisen with the growing diversity of patients, and the âfarm colonyâ where some patients worked in the hospitalâs past. She describes the role of the state hospital in the larger network of mental health care and explains how her own duties have changed over the years. Williams also recounts details of Broughton staff social life and entertainment for patients.
When her children became adults, Williams returned to school and obtained a B.S. in nursing. In 1997, she started working in staff development at Broughton. She discusses her teaching experience in the interview and compares her formal education to her learning process in the workplace. She discusses her interactions with and support from doctors. She also reflects the role of psychiatric nurses as advocates for the mentally ill and speaks about the stigma of mental illness.